February has been a month of mud and ice, but with brightening skies and a promise of warmer days ahead.
Our educators in the Wildlife Center are preparing for the busy spring and summer seasons. We continue to offer virtual presentations, while making plans for summer camp lessons, and an eventual return to in-person programming.
The overwintering wildlife is also preparing, soon to stir from winter slumber and celebrate the spring, searching for food and family.
One such creature is the Spotted Salamander, represented here by our educational ambassador 4-Spot! 4-Spot has been the star of several programs this month, helping to teach the public about predators and winter adaptations. Though she is small, she is strictly carnivorous, hunting all sorts of macroinvertebrates (like bugs and worms!).
Wild salamanders are normally dormant during this time of year – they find their way below the frost layer and ‘Brumate’ – a similar state to hibernation, slowing themselves waaay down to survive when food is scarce.
As temperatures rise and daylight hours increase, amphibians like salamanders, frogs, and toads will soon be waking, perhaps at the end of March, or early April! When the snow gives way to rainfall, and temperatures stay above 40F overnight… There is a surge of activity, a “Big Night” for dancing and courting in vernal pools.